Overview of Charles Allen Jr.
A mysterious disappearance leaves many with questions. Did Charlie go missing on purpose, was he met with foul play, or did he succumb to the elements?
Charles Malcom Allen Jr. (Neo Babson Maximus) was born April 26, 1985 in Haverhill, Massachusetts to parents Charles Sr. and Ann Allen. Growing up, Charlie and his two younger siblings spent most of their time between the family home in Haverhill and their summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Charlie was effortlessly athletic and social in school, and he didn’t have to try to receive good grades. Charlie’s family says Charlie wanted to be the best at whatever he did, and that he put his whole heart into everything. Before his disappearance, Charlie was known as one of the best Half-Life players in the world, which is a first-person shooter game released for Windows in 1998; he played under the screenname “Neo”. Friends and family recall Charlie’s love for tennis, Facebook, and The Matrix. Charlie is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, which led to episodes of mania and depression, but his family reports that it was well-managed with therapy and medication; however, Charlie did not like the way the medication made him feel, and he was not taking his prescription at the time of his disappearance.
Charlie graduated from Haverhill High School in 2003 and went on to attend the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth where he was majoring in Psychology and considering medical school post-graduation. At the time of his disappearance, Charlie was living in an apartment in New Bedford, Massachusetts with Anthony Costanzo, a friend from high school. Feeling like he was being numbed by his medication, Charlie began trying to manage his mood with lifestyle changes and physical activity the summer of 2007. Friends did begin to notice shifts in his behavior; while Charlie loved online gaming at the time, his love for tennis escalated, to the point of obsession. Charlie was a talented player with a lot of potential, but when he wasn’t spending time practicing and trying to improve, he was watching professional players on TV. That September, Charlie told his friend that he had legally changed his name to “Neo Babson Maximus”, Neo being his favorite character from The Matrix, Babson being his mother’s maiden name, and Maximus being the main character from Gladiator. Charlie explained his observation that most professional tennis players have unique and memorable names, and that he needed a unique name to stand out when he went pro. By the end of September 2007, Charlie had followed through with legally changing his name to Neo Babson Maximus. While this was unsettling to family and friends, from their perspective, Charlie remained communicative, seemed to realize it may not have been the best idea, and still went by his real name (Charlie). Charlie was still making good grades, and his love for tennis even introduced him to his best friend, Mason Viau.
A few days before his disappearance, Charlie drove to Providence, Rhode Island to see his sister Brittany and have lunch with their mom; they were very close and met up a couple of times each month. On October 11, the day before his disappearance, Charlie was meant to have lunch with his dad near his off campus apartment in New Bedford, but Charles Sr. had to reschedule, and they weren’t able to meet up. Charles Sr. noted that while the conversation was slightly odd, nothing rang alarm bells for him at that time.
Around 2 o’clock on October 11, 2007, Charlie and Mason Viau met at the tennis courts to practice, where they played for 2 or 3 hours. Mason Viau reported that Charlie seemed relatively normal and that he wanted to go to a party that night hosted by the women’s tennis team. The two ate dinner together in the cafeteria before going their separate ways to shower, agreeing to meet back up at 8:30 for the party. However, around 8 pm that night, Charlie’s sister Brittany called Charlie to tell him that his Facebook account had been deleted. Charlie was really affected by this news, and he became really scared according to sister Brittany; she reported that Charlie started talking really fast, panicking, saying that he didn’t delete his page. He continues, telling Brittany that there are people after him, that he’s not safe, and that she’s not safe, telling her to leave school and go home so their dad can protect her. Charlie told her that there were very important people after him because he sent some emails and that they were not safe. Before hanging up, Charlie said, “All of the answers are in the periodic table of elements.”
Brittany, who was very concerned, then called her dad who said he had just received out-of-breath messages from Charlie stating he was going down south; the messages to his parents included different destinations: one telling his dad he was headed to Florida or Mexico, and one telling his mom that he was heading to Texas and that he needed to be loved more. In all of the voicemails, Charlie appears to be running or out-of-breath. The family began calling Charlie, trying to get in touch, but they were all sent to voicemail. Mason Viau also attempted to reach Charlie who was a no-show for their party, and he too went straight to voicemail. Charlie’s parents notified the university and continued searching for their son.
Around 11:00 am on October 14th, three days after Charlie last spoke with loved ones, police were dispatched to a residence off of Slocum road for some found property: a backpack. The backpack contained a notebook with the name Charles Allen. When police notified the university about the found property, the university informed the department that the student was missing. This revelation prompted authorities to launch an official investigation, including ground and aerial searches, bloodhound units, and the exploration other possible locations like hospitals, shelters, and transportation hubs. Later that day, Charlie’s 1999 Blue Ford Expedition was found abandoned on campus; it contained a pillow and blanket, leading police to believe he had been sleeping in his car.
The next day, October 15th, Officer Robert Levinson connects Charlie’s case to an attempted break in that occurred early Friday morning; this report is considered to be the last official sighting of Charlie. Almost 7 hours after Charlie last spoke to his sister, at around 3:00 am on October 12, witnesses encountered a man matching Charlie’s description breaking into their 2nd story window. The man was shirtless and looking for his friend Mason; when the witness told the man that Mason didn’t live there, he apologized, jumped out of the window, and ran into the woods. The witness, Jean Boudreau, said the man was very polite and that he even referred to her as ma’am. She believes he was wearing black sweatpants with a red stripe on the side and sneakers. Charlie had been to Mason Viau’s apartment many times, and he did not live near Jean Boudreau. A few days later, on October 17th, Charlie’s sneakers were found near the house in a wooded area off of Chase Road. This information led family and police to believe that Charlie may have been experiencing a severe manic depressive episode as a result of his unmedicated Bipolar Disorder.
On October 27, 2007, authorities suspended the official local search for Charlie due to lack of evidence. His Verizon cell phone, wallet, and keys have never been located, and there has been no official sighting of him since October 12, 2007. Besides an internet search for the University of Texas, Charlie’s computer had been wiped clean; it contained no internet history, and the emails from that month had been deleted. Charlie’s bank cards, cellphone, and social media accounts have not been used since his disappearance.
Where the case stands today:
An electric company troubleshooter, Jim Costa, reported that on a Saturday morning in mid-October 2007 he saw a shirtless, disheveled looking man walking towards a truck on Cross Road. The truck was an auto carrier, but the carrier was empty, as if it had delivered all of its vehicles. Whether the man was approaching someone or using the truck himself, Jim was not sure. Jim also cannot recall if this sighting was on the Saturday of October 13th or October 20th. Ultimately, this sighting was a dead-end.
On the one-year anniversary of Charlie’s disappearance, Private Investigator John Leccese organized a massive search of the surrounding area, involving over 200 volunteers and multiple search methods, but ultimately, only animal bones were found, leading many to believe that Charlie did not perish in the woods.
2 years after Charlie’s disappearance, around 4:00 am in December of 2009, a man named Steven Kelly heard a knock at his door, and he opened it to find a disheveled looking man who was not dressed for the cold weather. The man told Steven that he needed help getting back to Southeastern Massachusetts University, which was the name for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth until 1991; the residence was in New Bedford, around 11 minutes from campus. Weary of a possible home invasion, Steven stepped inside to call police, but the man was gone before police arrived. After looking at photographs, Steven said he was sure that the man he saw was Charlie; however, when authorities conducted another search of the surrounding area, nothing was discovered.
On January 3, 2021 a beachcomber discovered the top of a skull protruding out of the sand near the high tide line of Little Beach off of Horseneck Road. The chief medical examiner believes that the skull belongs to a human male of an unspecified age, and Dartmouth Police suspect that the fragment washed ashore and was not placed there. Charlie’s parents gave a DNA sample to test against the remains, but there has not been an update.
Sadly, on June 11 2022, Charlie's mother, Ann Lynch Allen, passed away from colon cancer at the age of 59.
Charlie Allen’s case remains open to this day.
Because of Charlie’s behavior leading up to his disappearance, authorities believe Charlie may have been suffering from paranoid delusions as a result of his unmedicated Bipolar disorder. However, his family believes that he may have been running from dangerous people. They believe that while Charlie may have been manic, he was also very intelligent and had never lost touch with reality. His friends believe he is certainly smart and savvy enough to pull off creating a new identity in a different place. Anthony Costanzo, Charlie’s roommate at the time of his disappearance, noted that Charlie had shown a lot of interest in Scientology and their teachings; it is understood that Scientology does not believe mental health exists and that medication for it is a scam. Anthony also noted that Charlie had adopted a strange new sleeping pattern, taking naps sporadically throughout the day and night, but never more than a few hours at a time. Another possibility is that Charlie is confused and not aware of his identity, or that a random predator took advantage of Charlie’s vulnerable state. Did Charlie actually have people coming after him, did he start a new life elsewhere, or did Charlie succumb to the elements?
There has been no official siting of Charles Allen Jr. (Neo Babson Maximus) since October 12, 2007. If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Charles Allen Jr., please reach out to the Dartmouth Police Department at 508-910-1775 or submit a tip at https://www.dartmouthpd.org/resources/tip411-submit-a-tip/